What is the ADOS Test?
What Is ADOS Testing?
I trained on the ADOS many years ago now. The process of completing an ADOS test is making direct observations under controlled circumstances using standardized scenarios. And then you take a look at how the child reacts in those controlled situations.
One of the subtests that I remember testing is pretending to have a birthday party. You take the young child who is not talking at all or not talking much into a clinical area, a sanitized room, with no distractions or toys. Pull out a baby doll, Play-Doh, candle, and plate.
Then say that you are going to have a birthday party and follow a script to make the Play-Doh into a cake and put the candle on. Maybe you would see if the child puts a candle on. Then see if the child sings to the baby doll. See if the child puts the Play-Doh fake cake onto the plate.
And so you score based on what happens in that scenario with the setup of the baby doll. If the child chews on the candle, that would be an abnormal behavior for that age. That would be a negative score towards the diagnosis of autism. It would indicate more autism was present. The more unusual behaviors such as licking the plate, trying to eat the Play-Doh would be behaviors that might indicate autism.
On the other hand, if the child sings to the baby, puts the candle in the cake, claps after the song is done, those would add to a more positive score. Indicating that maybe it isn’t autism. This is just one of the setup scenarios within the ADOS that helps practitioners really see if a child is showing signs of autism.
ADOS Test for Autism
There are different levels of the ADOS. The autism diagnostic observation schedule is mainly used for children. However, it can be used for older kids who you’re not sure have ADHD, speech delays, or obsessive compulsive behavior. There’s also a part of the ADOS that can be used for adults that have not been diagnosed yet.
In level one of the ADOS, the practitioner and the scenarios will be set up to look at how children respond to their name, if they’re pointing, and other language indicators. A lack of pointing is a red flag for children. They should begin pointing between 15 and 18 months of age. Pointing indicates interest and allows children to show something to a caregiver. Throughout the ADOS, while you’re working on the birthday party and different scenarios, you’ll also be watching for language, response to their name, and those sorts of things.